My journey from corset virgin to a corset-clad vixen began a few years ago. I started attending romance book conventions and noticed the proliferation of corsets and eventually I started to feel left out. So not knowing what the hell I was doing I bought my first one. I bought it online so there was no trying it on. I ordered the size suggested for my measurements and got scared when I tried it on and realized how tight it was going to be, so I chickened out and reordered the next size.
I bought an underbust corset, not knowing what I was going to wear under it. As you can see from the picture at left, you NEED something to wear with an underbust style corset. Though now that I see this adorable I wanna be a pirate wench Edwardian Off Shoulder Cropped blouse, I want it. Only 28 bucks too! Thanks to Hips and Curves for the use of the images in this post and for the following suggestion regarding what to wear with an underbust corset–“You can add a tank top for a Steampunk look, or a lacy bra by itself or with a sheer blouse.”
So basically, much like I buy wine because I like the label, I bought that first corset because it had a leopard print. And I’ve never worn it… Yet! I say that because I did just try it on with an ivory tanktop and it looks great so stay tuned.
Anyway two more corsets later, both of which I have worn out in public, I feel a little better versed in the world of corsets, though I’m still learning and expect there is much more I have yet to discover. I’ve seen some steel boned ones sold for hundreds of dollars, and I’ve seen some fashion ones on sale for as little as $19, and there are any number of corsets available for every price point in between. All I can say is I can tell the difference in the quality of the construction between the lower end and the higher end corsets, but it’s up to you to decide. I own one of each and I wear them both equally.
Here is a quick list of a few things you might want to know before making your first purchase…
Sizing This is the tricky part. Read the description carefully on how it’s sized. Consult the websites SIZE CHART. In my experience I’ve found some are sold (the fashion ones usually) as Small, Medium, Large, Ect. And some waist-training steel boned corsets are based on waist size in inches but are meant to be ordered by waist size minus a few inches in anticipation of it being tightened. If you order online, make sure to read all the info but more important, make sure it’s returnable! Look for sites with No Hassle Return Policies.
Steel boned (waist-reducing) corsets My 3rd corset purchase (the American flag one I wore to RT ’13) was on of these. These are the real deal. Think Scarlett O’Hara hanging onto the bed post. Now I know why she was fainting all the time because you can lace these suckers tight and actually take inches off your waistline. Or we modern women can wear them more comfortable and a little looser and enjoy our evening out. It comes with nylon lacing. I’ll admit I’m not that brave and I don’t order mine 4 inches smaller than my waist size like suggested on some sites. I tend to order just like an inch smaller, but that can be risky if you order too big as well. Then there is too much material and you can’t lace them tight enough. I could have ordered my steel-boned smaller and been just fine. So like I said, look for a good return policy until you learn your size.
Fashion corsets My 2nd corset purchase (the camouflage one I wore to RAGT ’13 and to AAD ’12) was a fashion corset. It has plastic boning and no privacy panel and the lacing is a ribbon, and not nearly as substantial as the laces in my steel boned one, but it works and looks great and gets plenty of compliments. As long as you realize what you’re getting, I see no problem.
Privacy panels This is that extra strip of fabric that runs beneath the lacing in the back and prevents your bare skin from showing. My fashion corset does not have a privacy panel, my steel boned one does. I guess it all depends on your level of comfort with bare skin, but honestly, my boobs are so out there in a corset, no one is worried if a few inches of my back is showing. The red Satin Jacquard Corset shown above right has no privacy panel so a bit of sexy back peeks through the lacing. Compare that to the black corset to the left, which does feature a privacy panel to provide added coverage.
Length I’m tiny, not even five feet tall, so I’m short waisted and I have to make sure to not choose a long corset. Some are short and some are long and they will usually note that and include measurements in the description so be aware when choosing one.
In addition to a CONSTRUCTION link on the detail page that describes the materials used in the creation of the garment, the corset pictured at the left includes this text in the description to indicate the length…
Adelaide Luxe Long Line Steel Boned Corset
That’s enough info to get you started, so go shopping and maybe get yourself a corset because next post I’ll cover how the hell you get yourself into one! It was an eye-opener, I can tell you that!